The Associated Students of Oregon State University, OSU’s student government, jumped back into discussing new bills and committees at the first Senate and House meetings of the academic year.
ASOSU is split into the House of Representatives and the Senate, two different groups of elected officials who meet separately. After passing a single simple resolution, a resolution which has only been passed by the Senate, over the summer entitled SR-79.01, the Senate began the new quarter by providing updates on current bills and discussing nominations for Senate Pro Tempore during their Tuesday evening meeting. The Senate Pro Tempore is a member who presides over the Senate when the vice president is not present. The House of Representatives, which was not in session during the summer term, swore in new members, discussed the upcoming formation of committees and analyzed two bills during their first academic year meeting on Wednesday. Both groups discussed the potential benefits and negative consequences of passing a bill, SB-79.02, to make their meeting times earlier.
Nominations for Senate Pro Tempore will be further discussed and voted upon in upcoming Senate meetings. Senators also briefly discussed setting their office hours and meeting times, which will be made public next week once they have been finalized.
Additionally, during the Senate meeting, ASOSU Vice President Kylie Boenisch updated members on the current status of a bill discussed at previous Senate meetings. SB-79.02 aims to change official House and Senate meeting times from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. It was passed by the Senate during the summer quarter, but has not been passed by the House yet, due to the House being out of session during summer.
“We want to be respectful of student, staff, and community member time, and so that we can respect earlier building closing times since Senate has recently moved meetings to SEC 354,” Boenisch said via email.
The House opened their Wednesday night meeting by swearing in new members and discussing the committees that will be formed in the near future. These committees include Ways and Means, Appropriations and Budgets, and House Projects and Standing Rules. All four committees are responsible for either a financial or social aspect of the House, making them part of how ASOSU carries out its work. New and old members alike will form these committees in upcoming weeks.
Dylan Perfect, coordinator of Government Relations for the executive branch, introduced two bills to the House: a bill to establish an Institutional Memory Committee and SB-79.02.
According to Perfect, the IMC would keep a record of all ASOSU procedures and precedents to aid members in awareness of the group’s history and past decisions. Perfect said better cataloging of past ASOSU actions will allow staff and volunteers to work more efficiently. The new committee would also be a special committee, meaning anyone in ASOSU is able to join.
“Having folks from all the different branches of ASOSU would be very beneficial,” Perfect said.
Perfect then went on to introduce the final piece of the legislation for the night, the bill that would move ASOSU meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. Perfect said the earlier meeting time would likely fit better into students’ schedules and possibly increase general student body attendance. According to Perfect, many factors can cause a meeting to run late and create a hindrance for those who want to attend. However, he said some of these factors are crucial to the dynamic of ASOSU meetings.
The Senate wants to move both House and Senate meetings an hour earlier to avoid running late into the night, while still having ample time to address all the items on their agenda.
Sharanda Norman, faculty advisor and doctoral student, said the bill would also be beneficial to employees who aid in setting up and taking down the events. These student employees have to wait until the meeting concludes to clean up, sometimes leading to unscheduled late work-nights.
“When we are in here having these extremely long meetings, there’s students waiting around for us. We have to respect our colleagues,” Norman said.
This week’s Senate meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in SEC 354, and the House of Representatives meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in MU 109.